I am often asked what is the ‘right way‘ to form an email?  I don’t know that my way is the ‘right way’ but it works for me. Below are some of the ‘rules‘ I follow when preparing an email.

  • Put an appropriate heading in the subject matter (don’t be cryptic).
  • Let your recipient know what you want them to do with the email; start the subject matter heading with – FYI, For Action, Response Required etc. By doing this, the recipient knows what is required of them and you are also helping them prioritise – it’s a win win.
  • Never write an email when you are annoyed, angry or frustrated because it will carry across in what you type.
  • Always read your email before you send it; generally, once is never enough (I read each email a minimum of twice before sending).
  • Spell check, spell check, spell check, just because it is an email doesn’t mean we should cut corners.
  • Remember to use capitals and punctuation, it does look sloppy and unprofessional otherwise.
  • Don’t use SMS code in your email, you are not sending a text message.
  • Keep your email short and to the point, if it needs to be more than a couple of paragraphs, consider sending a Memorandum as an attachment (how many times do you gasp at a long email and then only read the first and last lines?
  • Your email signature is representing both yourself and your employer or your business, keep it simple and plain.  Signatures made up of different fonts and sizes with different colours, look unprofessional and detract from your message.

Create an Email Policy
Most organisations have some form of Email Policy, which covers everything from usage, to spam, to passwords, to chain messages, to opening attachments.  But does your policy contain some of the things we have gone through under Email Etiquette if not, consider updating your policy; after all, your email is part of your branding.